New Zealand authorities are concerned over outbreaks of gang violence in many parts of the nation. The latest incident was the arrest of five members of the Mongrel gang after they had a stand off in the streets with members of other gangs. As is so usual in these cases, the issue was over which gang will control the local drug trade. Some New Zealand mayors are comparing gang violence in their cities as akin to the situation in Zimbabwe, which is undoubtedly a rather extreme exaggeration. Greg O’Connor, president of the Police Association, says there is need for a coordination national program to smash the gangs, but some mayors want to create local police chiefs who would focus on crime in their cities.
Mr. O’Connor says it is not enough to get rid of street thugs, but there must be an effort to “knock off the top of the pyramid.” The New Zealand concerns are those shared by many countries in which drugs are illegal. Perhaps, it is time to reconsider the entire issue of making drugs illegal and explore alternatives of legal drugs that are under the control of the national government. As long as drugs are illegal, there will be illegal gangs vying for power over the monies connected with selling illegal drugs.